The bid of former Eels chairman Roy Spagnolo to return to the Parramatta Leagues Club board has hit a major roadblock after he was called to answer a series of allegations raised by an independent investigation into his three-year administration.
Spagnolo was issued with a show-cause letter earlier this month asking him to explain a list of financial irregularities uncovered after an exhaustive audit of the ailing club's management practices by the firm Russell Corporate Advisory that resulted in a 900-page report.
He is due to provide a response or front a hearing on Tuesday, when the Parramatta board next meets, and could have his membership suspended, and his desire to return to the Leagues Club board quashed, should he be unable to produce satisfactory explanations for the abnormalities raised in the Russell report. ''After the election of the new Parramatta Leagues board in May 2013, an external company was commissioned to undertake a wide-ranging internal review of the the Parramatta Leagues Group,'' a Parramatta Leagues Group spokesperson said.
''This of course is a common and prudent practice when there has been a significant change within a large corporate group. A board committee has asked the previous chairman to assist with the understanding of various matters arising out of the report. Parramatta Leagues is unaware how that appears to have become public knowledge.
''This is an ongoing process without any particular time frame. Any speculation before the process has been completed is inappropriate and regrettable.''
Contacted by Fairfax Media Spagnolo said: ''I don't wish to make any comment.''
Spagnolo, whose 3P ticket shot to power at Parramatta in 2009, was ousted from the board at the club elections in May when the ParraFirst ticket led by premiership-winning forward Steve Sharp seized control.
Beset by boardroom factionalism and instability, the Eels have in the past week been on the lookout for a new coach and chief executive, the latter position being filled by their general manager of membership Scott Seward.
In the midst of the upheaval Spagnolo, who remains chair of the Parramatta District Rugby League, has been angling for a return to claim one of the two vacant seats on the seven-member Leagues Club board that runs the Eels. The club's constitution had cleared the way for him to do so.
It states that three directors from the football club board must sit on the Leagues Club board and the resignations of Eric Grothe snr and Sid Kelly mean Sharp is now the only member of both boards, placing Spagnolo and another ousted director, Mario Libertini, as the only two other eligible candidates to fill the other spots.
After another season of turmoil, however, the three-month-old Parramatta administration led by Sharp is reserving the right to perform due diligence on Spagnolo's fitness to serve as a director again.
The subject will come to a head on Tuesday without one Eels board member present as Lawrence Shepherd is away in New York on business.
There have been a succession of departures at the wooden-spooners since Sharp's ticket assumed control. Leagues Club chief executive Bob Bentley and operations manager Tony Cinque were shown the door in July and football club chief executive Ken Edwards parted ways with the club in the same month.
Twitter -@Chris Barrett_